Dima Hasao district

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Dima Hasao district earlier called North Cachar Hills district, is an administrative district in the state of Assam in Northeastern India. As of 2011, it is the least populous district of Assam (out of 27). Dima Hasao means Dimasa Hills in the Dimasa language.

Dima Hasao district is one of the two Autonomous hill districts of the state of Assam. The district headquarter Haflong is the only hill station in Assam, a tourist paradise, also named the Switzerland of the north-east. Dima Hasao means Dimasa Hills in the Dimasa language.

History[edit]

The earliest inhabitants of the present district were a Mongoloid stock of groups who prefer to stay atop hilly terrain and who practised their own culture, tradition and land rights governing themselves as independent tribes. As per records of different British historians and officials, North Cachar Hills was already occupied by the Dimasa Kacharis, erstwhile old Kuki tribes viz. Biate, Hrangkhol and Sakachep and Zeme Naga tribe during the British Raj.

During the medieval period (1500–1854), Dima Hasao was part of the Dimasa Kachari Kingdom called 'Cachar Kingdom' with its capital at Maibang. The Dimasa Kingdom as per Ahom Buranjee, stretched from Kallang river in Nagaon to Kapili river[3] that includes, parts from Cachar and North Cachar (Dima Hasao), the districts of Hojai, Nagaon, Golaghat and Karbi Anglong of Assam and Dimapur district, in Nagaland.

In the colonial period, Khaspur in present-day Cachar district, had been administrative centre. However internal schism led to division of old Cachar Kingdom into North Kachar and South Kachar. The last Dimasa king Govinda Chandra Hasnusa assigned Kashi Chandra the hilly tract of Cachar i.e. roughly Dima Hasao (North Kachar Kingdom) for administrative purpose. Soonerthe latter declared its independence over the hilly portion that lead to treacherous murder of Kashi Chandra by Raja Govinda Chandra Hasnusa. Incensed, the son of Kashi Chandra, Tularam incessantly created political turbulence asserting his sovereignty over hilly portion of Cachar Kingdom. Finally, with British assistance, Tularam succeeded in carving North Cachar Hills from Cachar Kingdom. David Scott agent to British Raj in 1829[4] made an arrangement to recognise Tularam as the ruler of North Cachar (Dima Hasao). In 1850s, Tularam died and the frequent Angami raids and grave incident at Semkhor village paved a ground to extend British influence over North Cachar. In 1853, North Cachar was annexed and made part of Nagaon district of British Assam as subdivision.

In 1867, this sub-division was abolished and apportioned into three parts among the Cachar, Khasi and Jaintia Hills districts, and Nagaon. The present Dima Hasao district, or formerly North Cachar Hills district was included in the old Cachar district with Asalu being only police outpost. In 1880, this portion was constituted into a sub-division with headquarters at Gunjung under Cachar district.

This headquarters was shifted to Haflong in 1895. Since then, Haflong has continued to be the headquarters. In 1951, after the adoption of the Indian constitution, North Cachar Hills ceased to be a part of Cachar district, as specified under paragraph 20 of the sixth schedule to the constitution. This part along with Mikir Hills constituted a new civil district named "United District of North Cachar and Mikir Hills", which went into effect on 17 November 1951. According to a provision of the sixth schedule, two different councils were constituted later on, viz., North Cachar Hills District Council and Mikir Hills District Council within the geographical boundary of that North Cachar Hills District Council was inaugurated on 19 April 1952.

On 2 February 1970, the government declared an independent administrative district, viz., North Cachar Hills District with the geographical boundary of autonomous North Cachar Hills district council. At present,[when?] this autonomous council possesses administrative control over almost all departments of the district except law and order, administration, and the treasury department.

Administration[edit]

Dima Hasao comprises three subdivisions: (I) Haflong, (II) Maibang and (III) Diyungbra. The district consists of five Community Development Blocks: (I) Jatinga Valley Development Block, Mahur; (II) Diyung Valley Development Block, Maibang; (III) Harangajao ITD Block, Harangajao; (IV) Diyungbra ITD Block, Diyungmukh; and (V) New Sangbar Development Block, Sangbar.[5] There is one municipality board viz. Haflong and three town committees in Dima Hasao viz. Mahur, Maibang and Umrangso and also mini-towns like Harangajao, Langting and Diyungbra.